I'm a little surprised that TechDirt ran with a headline blaming Google; clearly this is a provision of the agreement that the movie studios insisted upon. We all know that content providers have a history of drastically overvaluing their content, but it would be foolish to say that it had no value at all, and in the negotiation I'm sure the content companies, with no understanding of why a user would root a phone, made this an absolute sticking point. You can say that "block rooted devices or no movies" is still a choice, but it is really a non-starter. Google engineers know the Android community will not be stopped; they never have been, and if a user has taken the time to root a phone, they will have no problem loading some patch to allow them to rent movies. Knowing that, why wouldn't they approve this provision of the contract? Let the movie studios have their security blanket to get the service off the ground then let the hardcore community go nuts.
I can't say I agree with your assessment here. As an employee at an offsite location for my job, I use MS Office Communicator on a daily basis for text chat, but even though it has voice and video built in, I still use Skype because the sound quality and interface are better. At home, I have an Xbox with a Kinect, and maybe people don't know this, but there was a launch day video calling app for the Kinect, but it is essentially worthless right now since no one I would call has a Kinect. However if MS integrates Kinect video calling with Skype on PC, suddenly all kinds of non-video game people become available, making it a very useful service. I'm very pleased with this purchase, and I think it will improve a number of MS services I already use.
As a computer engineer who designs hardware level code (not 'apps') for embedded systems (i.e. e-readers, phones, etc.) I would say that this is 80-90% not an issue about B&N intentionally clearing user content. Calling users idiots to their faces is not exactly a smart plan, but the sad truth is that users are, as a whole, idiots. Clearing user space memory, while not desirable, is at times unavoidable when updating a device like this, and B&N should defiantly warned users that all their content would be erased as well as providing a convenient backup method. As far as being an intentionally anti-consumer move, however, I just don't buy it.
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